Violins of Hope

The BW Conservatory of Music provides and takes inspiration from an exhibition of restored violins that survived the Holocaust.

Conservatory Students and Faculty Play, Inspired by "Violins of Hope"

November 2, 2015

11-16-chamber-group-previewThe BW Conservatory of Music has embraced, amplified and been inspired by Amnon Weinstein's effort to bring the voices of those lost in the Holocaust back to life. Over the past two decades Weinstein has worked to restore violins that survived the Holocaust. Now, 19 of the restored instruments are featured in an exhibition known as "Violins of Hope" that runs until Jan. 3, 2016 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Student and faculty musicians from BW's Conservatory of Music are plugged into two events that use some of these restored violins.

Student Concert and Tour an "Eye-Opening"  Experience

Violins of Hope

On Oct. 25, members of the BW Symphony Orchestra performed Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043. The Orchestra was conducted by Octavio Más-Arocas and featured faculty soloists Julian Ross and Barton Samuel Rotberg.

Students toured the exhibit (pictured with Maltz Museum Education & Public Programs Director, Jeffery Allen) following the performance, a profoundly moving and "eye opening" experience according to Junior music performance major Therese West '17.

"As we went through the museum and heard all of the stories about each violin it was difficult to wrap your head around what that instrument and it's owner had been through," West says. "Some of the stories they told us were heartbreaking. Some of the musicians played their instrument to find relief and others played to stay alive. It was amazing to hear how music helped so many people persevere through such a horrible time. "

11-11-Julian-Ross-previewA Reminder of Tragedy and Resiliency

"Violins of Hope is a tangible reminder of catastrophic tragedy, yet also confirmation of the resiliency of Jewish cultural and religious life," Dr. Ross says. "Thinking of some of the genuinely heroic people who created the tradition of Jewish violinists is profoundly humbling."

BW Faculty Headline "Mystery of the Violin" on November 18

Ross will be featured again on Wednesday, Nov. 18 in a lecture/performance called "The Mystery of the Violin." He will be performing with fellow BW Conservatory professor Robert Mayerovich on piano. This event will take place at 7 p.m. at the Maltz Museum.

Ross explained that since the 16th century, violin music has not only been a large part of Jewish cultural and social life, but a way to overcome repression. "I've also come to understand how fortunate and blessed I have been, to live in a time and place where I can study and perform, and have wonderful students who love music. The generations who came before me struggled to make this possible, and I pray that I honor them with the work that I do."

In a Cleveland Scene interview, museum director Ellen Rudolph shares her enthusiasm for the performances associated with the exhibit, saying, “It’s an amazing opportunity to bring those voices to life and connect with those who are lost.”